[Forewarning to all about Fairies. If you spot a fairy ring, DO NOT step inside it]
Those were the words printed on the large sign, and Lydia patted it down after she stuck it on a hedge along a small road a little ways from town.
”Well, that should do it,” Lydia said to herself.
People chuckled as they passed behind her.
The Carlton oddball daughter finally lost her mind.
She could hear their whisper but disregarded what they said and made a second inspection of her sign.
[For any directions regarding fairies, please contact Lydia Carlton, at House Number 5 on Mommi’s Tree Alley.]
“Chin up! If any fairies cause trouble, I am the only one who can solve it in this town,” Lydia motivated herself.
She came up with this idea, to seriously pursue this job, only about a month ago. Up to that point, most of the towns people haven’t realized that the misfortunes or accidents were fairy pranks, and when Lydia pointed them out, they only snorted at her.
“And when you solved them, your oddball name will spread even more,“ said the voice that came from above in the tree branches.
The one that was sitting on the branch was a long-haired gray cat. It jumped down to the ground and stood up on it’s hind legs. It even wore a fancy tie around it’s neck.
“Lydia, your mother was indeed a fairy doctor, but that was a long time ago, it’s a different story now. I can understand if it was a remote area where humans shared their lives with fairies but not in a rising town like this,“ he said.
The cat who spoke freely and could disappear at will, was not really a cat, but a fairy. He supposedly has lived longer than Lydia but he grew up with her as a childhood friend. And as he said, it was the middle of the 19th century, where railroads spread across all of England, and factories were sprouting up everywhere and people’s lives improved dramatically with the advancement in industrialization. At the same time, it was the era when fairies were thought of as characters in bedtime stories and their existence has slowly become forgotten.
”But even in this town, there are plenty of fairies. And they cause plenty of trouble. So, don’t get in my way, Nico,“ said Lydia.
So I have to post these signs all over town. Besides, the summer solstice is near. The fairies’ pranks are sure to increase.
Just like how her mother was when she was still alive, in order for Lydia to be acknowledged as a fairy doctor, it was necessary to advertise at this time of year. She was only just a sixteen-year-old girl, but Lydia thought of herself as the most knowledgeable about fairies in this region. She was able to see fairies since birth, and naturally became experienced with them.
Consequently, she now had more fairy acquaintances than human. So she thought that her ability was most useful only in a job like this. Just then, she heard the sound of shredding paper coming from behind her. She turned around to see that there was a group of children ripping off her posters.
”What are you doing? Stop that!,“ she shouted.
“Aah! Lydia got angry! She’s going to curse us! Hair will grow out of our bellybuttons!”
The children dashed off. As they were running, they continued to shout about cursed hair growing from strange places.
“I will have the fairies pinch naughty children like you!“
Of course, saying such things would only lead to the prankster’s parents becoming even more apprehensive about her.
“Could you really make hair grow?“ came a male voice.
”Yes, do you want me to make you into a fur ball as well?!“ she snapped, thinking it was another mischief-making youngster, and whipped around to face him, but the one standing there bewildered, was a unfamiliar young man.
Surely not a residence of the town, he wore a black frock coat, and carried a leather suitcase in one hand and an instrument case in his other. By his worn out hat and English, she could tell he was a respectable gentleman from the middleclass. He bent down to pick up one of the shredded pieces of poster.
“Would this Lydia Carlton be you?” asked the young man.
“…Yes. Would you please move aside? I want to fix my posters.“
I can’t get discouraged from behavior like this.
Thinking ahead, she brought along extra sheets just in case of these kinds of situations.
“What does this ‘Forewarning of fairies’mean?“ questioned the man.
“Exactly as it says. If you hear the voice of a fairy, you have to ignore it. Or else you’re going to regret you opened your mouth.”
“Are you saying that there really are fairies?“ he asked.
“Uh, may I make certain of something. Are you asking me this to make a mockery out of me?”
“Oh, no. I just thought what a mysterious poster this is.”
It seems like he has no other intentions.
“Fine, then.” Lydia pulled herself together and spread a poster on the ground and started to paste glue on it with a brush.
“You’re from England aren’t you? Here in Scotland, there are fairies all over the place. Just as common as the rats in London. But, most people don’t have the ability to notice them, hence, posters like these are incomprehensible to them.”
“Oh, I see.”
“You don’t have to force yourself to believe in me.”
Even to people who take the time to honestly listen, I can only be stubbornly unreasonable. To be like mother who had such an open heart and serviced everyone, I will need to train myself even more to be sufficient, she thought.
Unable to paste the poster up straight, Lydia was struggling to align it and since it was quiet behind her she thought the young man had already left.
But, after pasting it up right and taking a breath as she stepped back, there was another voice that asked “Are you finished?”
“Wh-What are you doing?’ she said after turning around and finding him still there.
“Hmm? I was waiting for you of course,” he replied with a genuinely expression.
“…and what purpose is keeping you here?”
“Do you know of Mr. Ballet’s residence?”
“Anyone knows it. You can ask someone on the main street.” And when Lydia started to walk off, the young man followed her.
“You are not going to guide me there?”
“Better not. If you are seen walking with me on the main streets, rumors will fly around that you are some sort of eccentric.”
“I don’t mind. Because I will be in this town for only three days,” he said.
He doesn’t seem the charitable type.
People who approach Lydia usually saw her as an unfortunate girl and sympathized with her by trying to be overly kind and they were the ones to say "You’ve done nothing wrong, you are not different.”
But with this man, it seemed like he didn’t mind that she was an oddball or not. What an strange person, she thought.
“…..Fine. I’ll be passing by it anyway.”
“Great,“ he said with a carefree smile.
The young man introduced himself as Ian Reynolds. He was a violinist that was passing through this town on his way to Edinburgh. His carriage had gotten stuck in a ditch on the outskirts of town and since it was not far, he claimed he had come here by foot. Invited by the gentry Mr. Ballet, he also said that he was going to have a concert tomorrow night.
“Are you famous?” Lydia asked the insolent question, which he laughingly answered.
“I’m still an amateur. I know! why don’t you come and listen? You could invite someone else as well,” he said.
“Are you being sarcastic?” she retorted thoughtlessly.
But she was beginning to understand that his motives were not so.
“No, um, I’m sorry. This personality of mine must be a defensive mechanism. In other words, …you can tell, right? There isn’t anyone who would want to socialize with me,“ unexpectedly, Lydia grumbling about herself in a low tone. It must have been because he carried himself with such seriousness around her.
“Why? You see fairies is all, right?“ he asked, puzzled.
“But, isn’t a girl who can speak to fairies unnerving? Besides, people say that I’m a fairy changeling.”
“A changeling? Is there some kind of proof?” he asked.
“My mother, she passed away, was a renowned beauty. Her blonde hair was a perfect gold, and her skin was white as snow. But I don’t resemble her one bit. My hair is this reddish-brown, and I don’t have any charming features.”
“You may think so. But you have very beautiful eyes. It’s green with shades of gold,“ he said. Unexpectedly he bent down to look into her eyes, which gave her a little jolt.
“You don’t have to force yourself,“ she repeated.
“I haven’t intended to,” he replied.
Lydia became confused as to how to deal with her feelings of contrition.
“Alright, …I understand. Anyhow, what I want to imply is that you do not have to compliment me.“
I can not hassle him any longer, Lydia thought and stopped walking.
“The building with the red roof there is the house of Mr. Ballet,“ she pointed.
After he nodded, Ian stuck his hand into one of the inner pockets of his coat and took out a piece of paper. “This is a ticket for the concert. I would be honored if you’d come and listen.”
Lydia hesitated. He should already figured out that she was a warped woman but yet he still invites her.
“Is there that much difficulty in attracting customers?“ she asked.
To which he burst out laughing.
“I guess so. Even if just one person attended, we can still run the concert. So please attend. And I’ll be careful to not compliment you.”
As he walked off waving, she saw him off while muttering, “He such a strange man.”
“My goodness, he is famous,“ murmured Lydia.
She had arrived back home and spotted Ian’s name on the paper set on the table. It talked about the famous violinist from London opening the ‘Concert on the Moonlit Night‘.
“Then there’s no worry about just one person attending.“
So there would be no need for me to go and listen. While thinking that, Lydia pulled out the dresses from her closet, spread them across her bed, and repeatedly looked them over herself in the mirror.
“Lydia. Forget that and let’s go out and have some fun. I heard the meadow fairies are holding a ball,” Nico protested.
“Not a chance. That clan is too fastidious. More importantly Nico, which do you think is better, the blue or the pink?” asked Lydia.
“Has the Englishman caught your fancy?” asked the cat.
“Don’t be ridiculous.”
“But, you’re in such high spirits,” he pointed out.
“I am not spirited…” she murmured.
Come to think about it, there was probably just an extra ticket. It could have been meant as a gift of thanks for the guide.
And yet Lydia realized she was acting as if she was excited to go meet Ian. Seeing herself acting ridiculously, she threw the dress aside.
In the mirror, there was a reflection of her sullen face. Her yellowish-green eyes looked back at her. This trait did not look like her either one of her parents. She was aware that people said it was the fairy blood, or she looks like a witch, but her father and mother both said they were beautiful.
Her only remaining family, her father, was living and working in London and scarcely came back home to her in Scotland. Her father could not see fairies, but he accepted her mother and supported her throughout her life. Both of them were called oddballs, but to Lydia, they were the ideal husband and wife and she grew up wishing that she could meet someone like her father someday.
But in her sixteen-years of life, she has never come across such a person. Bachelors her age hardly ever talked to her. So that resulted in her not getting to know anyone, and thus not falling in love.
To plainly put it, her mother was just lucky. And lately she thought that she wasn’t going to as fortunate.
Besides her parents, Ian was the first one to compliment her, so her heart must have become confused.
As the sunset went by and the silver moon floated mistily in the sky, Lydia looked out the window hearing the fairies’ voices as they rustled above the dark garden.
A small bunch of glowing lights burst out of a elder bush and lined up in a row flying across the garden. They must be heading off to the ball the rose meadow fairy clan was hosting.
The elder tree emitted a strong aroma like insets and carried an ill-omened association with it and was known as the ‘Witch’s Tree.’ But regardless of the stories surrounding it, it was a tree with mysterious powers that attracted the fae.
That’s why her father planted so many. And thanks to that, now the garden was a fabulous meeting place for fairies.
(Has everyone heard? The rose meadow fairy queen announced she has gotten something wonderful.)
(Yes, it seems to be a violinist. She says it’s a young human. I heard it’s a young soul that shines like a brilliant jewel.)
Lydia overheard their conversation, and jumped up from her bed to slam open the window and stuck out her head.
“What you just said, is that true!?”
(Aah, it’s the meany Lydia!) cried the brown little fairies as they scattered about.
I am not mean, Lydia thought to herself angrily. These brownies just loved to play pranks, and she just cautioned the people because they liked to hide human children and sour the wine.
If the fairies get too out of hand, it would only make it harder for their cohabitation with humans.
A fairy doctor’s job was not only to help people who were the victims of the fairies’ pranks. She was told by her mother that a fairy doctor needed to educate the people to help make them understand fairies and their roles were to be the bridge between them so that both sides could live in peace.
In this era, when rail roads spread all over the country, their job may be a dying breed but even if people couldn’t see fairies or even if they were forgotten, fairies still existed. So, Lydia’s gift should have some importance.
Unlike the past, her job title would be seen as ridiculous to some people, but she was proud of her ability that was passed down from her mother. All the more that she did not want to be embarrassed about her ability or try to hide it, and wished to make it useful.
“Nico, you heard them didn’t you?” she looked back into the room.
The talking cat was lying across the mantle piece. Resting his head on his arm, Nico crossed his hind legs and yawned widely. He looked like a little tired man inside a cat suit when he posed like that.
“Hmph. That crowd loves beautiful things. So a human soul that can create something beautiful is perfect.”
“We’re going to that ball.”
“Now, now, you don’t know for certain if it’s that violinist.”
“Is there any other violinist in this town that the fairy queen would want? The performers in the pubs all sound like screaming women anyway.”
“Even so, would the rose meadow fairy queen give back a treasure that’s hers?”
“I need you to take me to the rose meadow fairies.”
Nico stood up as if he surrendered and said “the round stones on top of the windy hill” and cocked his head to the side as if gesturing her to follow.
The moonlight painted the hill a silvery white; Lydia exited the town streets and followed behind the cat that was trotting along on his hind legs up the grassy dirt path.
In the distance, Lydia was able to see a fuzzy bundle of lights swarming together. It was the flock of fairies. In the middle of it, there was a human figure lying down on the ground.
Passing by Nico, Lydia ran toward it. She jumped into the light swarm, swinging around an ash branch in one hand, making the fairies scattered away like flies off a fruit. In the field lighted only by the moon, Ian was left lying asleep holding onto his violin.
“Mister, wake up! Are you alright?” To Lydia’s voice, he slowly opened his eyes. He smiled angelically as if unaware that he was in unnatural, dangerous situation.
“Oh, it’s you. …I was dreaming the most curious dream. Yes, it was like I was surrounded by fairies…”
“It wasn’t a dream.”
“Huh? …Now that you mention it, where are we? It was a beautiful moonlit night and I was taking a walk…”
“You stepped in a fairy ring, didn’t you?”
“Ah yes, there was a mark of a circular light on the ground. I didn’t know what it was and so I was curious. ..So that was a fair ring. It’s the first time I ever saw one.”
It seemed Lydia’s warning on her flyers had no effect.
“So that means I was captured by fairies?” he questioned.
“And so you came to rescue me.”
“Luckily, I came just in time before they took you to the fairy world… Oh, but have you had anything taken?”
“No, nothing. I have my violin and my two hands. If something else was taken, it doesn’t matter. I know! Let me play you a song as my thanks.”
He must be a placid person for acting like this when he had just been so close to never coming back to this human world.
But most likely, even if he was taken to the fairy world, he would be able to be happy as long as he could play his violin.
Smiling as he stood up, Ian was beautiful as he prepared his instrument. Standing up straight in the grassy meadow, he bathed in the moonlight. The light showered his tall enhancing figure as he set his bow on the strings.
The music that came out was like a dream.
It’s ‘Moonlit Night,” thought Lydia.
It was the first time for her to hear it but this song which was the main song for the concert was easy to guess from it’s brilliant tune that melted into the moon night. Lydia listened, closing her eyes, sitting on the grass thinking how the music sparkled like silver to her ears.
The music abruptly ended. He had stopped the bow, tilting his head in confusion, looking at his instrument.
“What’s the matter?” asked Lydia.
“This isn’t it… Not like this, I can’t get the usual sound.”
“What, really? I thought it was marvelous as it was.”
“But something’s missing. What that is, I don’t know quite myself.”
“Th-That’s it!” shouted Lydia, standing up.
“The point is, you had something taken.”
“Then I won’t be able to play the violin anymore?” he muttered in despair.
The sight of his sorrow in his slumped shoulders was begging pity. She had come to help him, but if he couldn’t play, she still hadn’t saved him.
The concert was an event that all the townspeople were anxious about.
Not only that, but even in Edinburgh, or London, there will be disappointed people if they found out Ian couldn’t play anymore.
“…It will be alright, Mister Reynolds. I’ll get it back from the fairies.”
“Can you really do such a thing?”
To get it back meant Lydia needed to make an exchange with the fairy queen of the rose meadow. It was a great millstone for someone inexperienced like Lydia. Even if she read about how to negotiate with fairies, she was still far from being a true fairy doctor. The fairy doctors in history were well respected by the fairy clans, that’s why they could trade successfully with them.
But it was only a second that Lydia hesitated. If she couldn’t help someone in trouble, then Lydia was just an oddball that saw storybook creatures. She wouldn’t be honoring her mother’s profession.
“I’ll try my best,” said Lydia.
“But Lydia, why are you so kind? For a traveler like myself, whose just passing through.”
When she was stared at so straightly by Ian, it made Lydia’s heart beat faster.
Was it because he complimented her golden green eyes? Or because Ian wasn’t freaked out by Lydia?
“I want to do the same job as my mother. You will be my first client.”
If she was questioned further, she felt as if her mouth might slip something embarrassing. Lydia didn’t want to allow any no more questions and so she headed off. She ran in the direction the dispersed fairies were heading towards. The rose meadow fairy clan must be enjoying their ball that was held at the round stones just ahead.
The area around the round stones at night was deserted and there even was no sound of the wind. But once she stepped into the center, Lydia stepped into a different realm and was surrounded by floating curtains of lights. It was the fairies’ ball.
All around her, there were flowers in full bloom. There were flowers from different seasons that covered the hill. Fairies dressed in flower petals were singing and dancing with an elderberry flower, the size of a pea, in their hands. Lydia realized that she was the same tiny height as the fairies, and had stumbled in amongst their crowd.
Let’s dance. Let’s dance. The fairies invited her. Intoxicated by the light and strong smell, she was forgetting the reason why she had come here.
“Don’t do it, Lydia,” said the capricious cat standing on his hind legs; he had disappeared when they were with Ian but he had showed up in front of Lydia suddenly. In fact, at a monstrously tall height. More like his size hadn’t changed at all. He was more a monster than a cat.
“You have never negotiated with fairies before. Even if you knew charms to stop pranks, it’s hopeless to try to trade with a queen so suddenly.”
Nico’s voice brought back Lydia from the dance invitation and made her focus again.
“I have to try, or I’ll never become a fairy doctor,” she said. Lydia winded through the mixing flying fairies trying to find the queen’s throne. She found the queen wearing scarlet petals sitting on a velvety shining mossy stone throne. Her hair and skin were white enough to show through and had a thin pair of wings that looked like glass.
“Your majesty, I have come to ask a request,” presented Lydia, kneeling down in front of the queen.
(Daughter of the Earth, I know your wish is about the violinist. But I have no intention of releasing him. It is a rare soul I found that creates such marvelous music.)
“Your majesty, I do not dare ask for it’s return freely.”
An exchange of one thing for another; a fairy could not refuse that sort of offer. Even if they came in possession of something, their appetite is never satisfied and they constantly seek something new. It was more instinct than characteristic for them. Of course, it had to be something of more value than the previous one or it was meaningless.
Lydia ran over her brain to come up with an idea of what to exchange. If it was her mother in this same situation, she would craft an idea that had no harm on herself but looked tempting to the fairies and so she would have skillfully maneuvered out of this dilemma. But Lydia didn’t have the same experience or knowledge.
(Don’t do it, Lydia. The reason I haven’t returned him is also for your benefit,) spoke the queen just when Lydia was still in deep thought.
“Why is that, your majesty?”
The queen softly lifted her arm to give the sign to one of her fairy maids who floated down carrying something in her hands. It was a large envelope, still a size too big for their proportion. But if Lydia were to change back to her regular size, it was just a plain good sized envelope.
(This was dropped by the violinist.)
”That is part of his soul that creates the beautiful music?”
(Indeed. The heart of loving another. The source that creates marvelous art and shines the soul. The violinist always carried this letter from his lover wherever he went and thought of that person from afar. Humans are so mysterious and carry such beauty within. As we fairies do not share this, it makes them so interesting.)
A letter from a lover? Lydia’s heart started to beat rapidly.
Ian had forgotten such an important thing as that. And, the fact that he had a lover. He had forgotten how much he thought of that person, and so he doesn’t know why his music is so incomplete.
(Lydia, if you favor the violinist, then you just need to convince him to stay in this town. For a soul like his to loose his music, there is no place he needs to go.)
If he stayed here, then Lydia’s daily life would change dramatically. She would want to know about him more and perhaps even fall in love with him.
But then, that meant he would not be able to play beautiful music. Even if he stayed with his soul being incomplete, Lydia would never get to know the true Ian.
Could she say she liked him not knowing the true sound of his melodies that captured the moonlight so perfectly? Lydia faced the queen and shook her head.
“I want to hear his real music, Your Majesty, if you are interested in love, then please take my soul, my heart that is in love. And please, return his soul back to him,” just as she finished there was a gust of wind that suddenly erupted around them like a storm.
The rough winds swiped up the nearby flowers and grass into the air and rustled and shook the trees. The fairies, no longer bothering to continue the ball, all screamed as the clouds blocked out the bright moon. The queen stood up from her throne, looking down at Lydia as her hair was brought up by the wind.
(Such a hasty little human. You’ve spoken the exchange. Oh well, I agree. But with this trade, you will no longer be able to fall in love.)
Ian’s letter was tossed up by the wind and Lydia followed after it as it was carried out of the round stones. The light created by the fairies had disappeared and the surrounding scenery turned pitch black.
“That was stupid of you, Lydia. Going to that length for a man you just met,” came Nico’s voice from the darkness.
“It’s alright, Nico… Besides, there will be no one interested in a changeling like me. But from this, I think I’ll finally be able to know the happiness of falling in love with someone. Though it will be my first and last.”
Ian’s concert was held in an outdoor theater just as the moon began to rise up again in the sky.
Since it was a small town the stage was small, but the seats were full of people. In one of the corner seats, Lydia listened as the musicians started to begin their first song. She had the ticket that he gave her in her room and decided to attend the concert for some reason.
But Lydia didn’t know why she had a ticket in the first place. Last night when she awoke, she was lying down on her own bed. She had supposedly gone off to the rose meadow fairy’s ball but couldn’t remember anything more than that.
She concluded that she must have came home from a walk overly exhausted. And as she was listening to the player’s fine music flowing from their fingertips, her heart started to beat rapidly. The sad, soft melody flowed around her in her mind.
Though she never fell in love, this faint soft music made her wonder why it seemed so similar to the feeling of the painful longing for another. But Lydia began to feel irritated, because she couldn’t fully grasp what the music was trying to express. Her heart felt closed like their was a cover around it and even underneath that it felt frozen over, and she wanted to feel the sounds more deeply, but even that excitement didn‘t come out of her.
Before she knew it, the song was over and the crowd had erupted in an outburst of applause.
Several young ladies, with flower bouquets, ran up to the front of the stage. Lydia realized she brought one rose with a ribbon tied onto it. She remembered Nico handing it to her saying that ‘It’s custom to bring to concerts.’
[It’s to say you were moved by their performance.]
[And if I wasn’t?]
[Then stomp on it was throw it at them.]
Is that the normal thing to do? Nico was quite experienced than Lydia but as he wasn’t a human, his understanding of social human behavior was unreliable.
But no doubt that a flower was needed to show your sign of deep inspiration.
But, she didn’t know. Was she moved by the performance?
Lydia felt completely lost. She couldn’t understand how she couldn’t appreciate this person’s music. She didn’t understand why she was like this, maybe because she was had a twisted personality and being a changeling must have been why her heart couldn’t be touched by the beautiful sound.
Someone like me shouldn’t be in a place like this.
The applause was dying out for the next song to begin. Lydia was looking down, not knowing that the violinist on the stage was looking at her with intensive eyes.
“This is a song that I dedicate to the rose meadow fairy queen,” announced the violinist. “If you would accept it, I ask to please exchange it back for Ms. Carlton’s heart.”
Lydia gasped, looking up.
What did he say? Ms. Carlton, me!?
Still in shock, the melody of the dreamy ‘Silver Moon Night’ glided out into the night air. She heard of this song before. Just as she though that, somewhere deep inside her, the forgotten memories of Ian rose out from her mind.
How he complimented her eye color. That he gave her the ticket and when he smiled at her. That she had rescued him after he stepped in a fairy ring. And how she traded with the flower fairy queen.
Where it was frozen over in her heart, the sound soaked in and warmly melted it down. Before she knew it, those melted fragments turned into tears and trickled down her face to wet the rose on her lap. She finally was feeling with all her heart. This was Ian’s music that she truly wanted to hear. Her ears soaked in the melody which required both the gift of the player and the heart of the listener to be complete.
The crowd in the seats were all dazed by the ‘Silver Moon Night.’ Not long afterwards, there was another, greater eruption of applause, to which the violinist smiled back in satisfaction.
But Lydia suddenly became worried. If he dedicated this song to the flower fairy queen, it was a dangerous trade. Why would he do such a thing?
She suddenly realized why and quickly exited the theater. She found Nico lying down behind some bushes near the theater doors and dashed over to him.
“What is the meaning of this, Nico? Why would he trade with the rose meadow fairy queen?”
“He just asked of a way that would help you.”
“Nico, you told him that? Th-That means you appeared in front of him like that?”
“I made sure to stand on all fours.”
“If you talked than the act would be meaningless!”
“Oh who cares, Lydia. By the way, he was the one who carried you home after you were thrown out of the queen’s ball. That letter, I handed it back to him. He was a little surprised, but that was all. I did also explain what happened, just in case.”
“But, that sort of exchange… He will never to able to play the ‘Silver Moon Night’ ever again!” moaned Lydia.
“I don’t mind,” said a voice. Ian stepped out from behind a stone pillar of the theater.
“I was so nervous to try to please the queen that it was the best performance I ever had. Most likely I won’t be able to play as good as tonight’s ‘Silver Moon Night’. I’m satisfied as long as it stays in the hearts of the people who came tonight.”
“Thank you, Lydia. I don’t have anything missing now. In fact, I’m certain that from now on I’ll be able to play better than ever. That’s why you shouldn’t lose anything either.”
His smile made her so happy but also made her heart stink just a little.
“Oh yes, this,” Lydia remembered and held out the rose.
“Your performance was beautiful. I’m so glad I was able to listen to it… I don’t know how to say this right, but just one rose wouldn’t be enough to express my excitement, more like I want to give you a ton of elderberries.”
Wiping her wet eyes, Lydia’s desperate words must have reached him.
“Thank you, I’m honored,” he said.
They parted after shaking hands. Carving the warmth of that hand in her heart, Lydia walked her way home with the cat beside her on his hind legs.
“By the way, Lydia. Only fairies would be thrilled to receive elderberries. You need to learn human etiquette.”
She must have felt good that night as she didn’t feel like stamping down on that fluffy tail of his.